When choosing where to deliver your baby the most important thing to consider is that you must find the solution that works best for you. One thing that you will quickly find out when you are pregnant is that just about everyone has a story to share with you about their pregnancy and/or delivery and many women will give you advice about what you should do (solicited or not!). You can listen to what everyone has to say, but in the end, you must make your own choices about what is best for you and your baby.
The advantages of a home birth vary from person to person, but for many it boils down to simply feeling more comfortable in your own home. Additionally, having a home birth allows you to have whoever you want present when your baby is born. If you are uncomfortable in a hospital setting or if you are concerned delivering your baby where there is a high concentration of sick people. Home birth might be a good option for you. Midwives attend and assist with most home births. Home birth is typically the least expensive option when delivering, but may not be covered by your insurance. Those with high risk pregnancies should probably not consider this option. If you live far from a hospital you might want to consider a birthing center so that you have better access to emergency services, since the time it takes to get to the hospital could be critical.
If you like the idea of a home birth, but are concerned about the distance between you and the hospital if complications arise, or if you are comforted by the fact that most birth centers have a doctor on call this could be a good option for you. Birth Centers (or a Birthing Center) usually employee certified nurse midwives. The rules in birth centers are normally a little more lax than those in a hospital, and you only have delivering patients, not other sick people, within the center itself. Delivering in a birth center limits your access to pain mediations and are not recommended for high risk pregnancies. Birth Centers are typically less expensive than hospitals, although they may not be covered by insurance.
Today, most women deliver in a hospital setting. Delivery in hospitals has changed drastically over the last several years, with many hospitals offering separate birthing rooms and allowing certified nurse midwives to attend the birth. Pain medications are easily obtained in this setting and emergency services are on site, which is very important if your pregnancy is considered high risk, or if you know that you will have a C-section. Not all hospitals measure up the same, and you should check out the different options in your area before deciding which hospital to use. Policies will vary on visitors, people present during your birth and the use of cameras and video equipment. Be sure and ask if you can use a birth plan, what their policies are on issues that concern you (Such as “Do you routinely break water after a certain amount of time in labor?”). Hospital births are the most expensive option of the three cited in this article, but are most often covered by insurance.